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Thursday, July 3, 2014

Summer Squash Bake and My 2 Cents on Cutting Zoodles

It is getting to that point in the summer when it is too hot to turn on the oven, so you had better make this dish before the real heat wave hits. (at least for those of us in the northern hemisphere) It still weirds me out a bit that I have Diner followers from all over the globe. It is awesome, just it reminds me how much smaller the world is in these times.When I was in college, I rarely called home a hundred miles away because the long distance phone charges were too high. Now we can talk to people all over the world for just the cost of our internet connection. So much has changed in my lifetime-- and I don't even feel old!

 If you have an abundance of summer squash, this is a really tasty side dish. I wish I had a green thumb and could be growing my own squash. I tend to get big beautiful plants, but no squash. Didn't even try this year. I think this would be marvelous with fresh sage also, but I am not growing that either. Maybe you can do better.

This dish is paleo if you leave off the cheese, so even those who don't do dairy can appreciate it. I made
the cheese version
both variations today. They are both good, but different. The cheese variation I made in an individual casserole dish. The cheese gives it a salty creaminess, but I must admit that the flavor of the sage and squash itself is a little lost. The non dairy version has a certain sweetness that is easily discernible. Perhaps that is the coconut milk, but I couldn't taste coconut at all. The flavor of the sage is subtle, but definitely noticed. (note: my sage may be a little old, and therefore not as flavorful. The first time you make this you may want less. Sage is one of those herbs I happen to adore.)

Bake it in the morning before the heat sets in and you will appreciate it at dinner time. I had a julienned squash recipe in the July Diner News. That one has a Sherried Cream Sauce with the squash. I served some leftovers to my mom for lunch yesterday. She really liked it, so I was inspired to use the rest of my squash today in a similar fashion. I had been looking for ways to use my newest gadget--a Vegetti slicer. That's how I julienned the squash for both dishes. My review is under the recipe.

Summer Squash Bake

4 cups julienned yellow summer squash and zucchini ( about 2 small or 1 1/2 medium to large)
1/2 tsp salt
1 egg
3/4 cup full fat canned coconut milk
1 tsp rubbed sage
1 tsp onion powder
1/4 cup crumbled bacon
optional: 3/4 cup shredded Mozzarella cheese

Julienne slice a mixture of yellow and zucchini squash. Sprinkle salt over the squash and set it in a colander to drain excess water for 20 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large  bowl, beat one egg. Gradually stir in coconut milk until well blended. Add sage,  onion powder and Mozzarella if using.

Use your hands to wring additional moisture from the squash shreds. Pat them dry with paper towels. Stir the squash into the egg and milk mixture. Stir until well coated. Transfer into a baking dish. Top with crumbled bacon. Bake at 350 for 30  minutes. Let stand at least  10 minutes before serving.

Serves 4
Without cheese:   157 calories  6 g net carbs   12 g fat
With cheese:        217 calories  6 g net carbs   16 g fat

Zoodles have been a favorite for a long time. I started with a hand held peeler.   I hate that slicer though. I seem to be too klutzy to use it on the second half of the squash and always seem to cut myself. No good mixing blood in with the zoodles, so it got retired.

Then came a spiral slicer that I really like. It can shave vegetables into ribbons or make angel hair slices. That is my only problem. For some recipes, the angel hair option is simply too small. I wanted a more substantial slice like I had with my original hand held julienne slicer. I love the ease of the spiral slicer. Fast, no blood. If only it was a little larger cut--and a little better made.

But onto the Vegetti. I got mine at Ross for under $10. Most places seem to have it for closer to $15. So, sensing a bargain, I got one. I do like it, but I don't love it. I like the two sizes of vegetable noodles that it makes. I found though, that it does not accommodate large zucchini well. The whoppers coming out of some gardens are simply too large to work well. If you cut them in half, it is much harder to get a continuous even slice. It is hard with all the starting and stopping with a not so round vegetable. I am also not so crazy about the little cone shape that doesn't get used. I had to stop several times to chop it off as it tends to clog up the slicer. There is substantially more leftover vegetable than with the spiral slicer. I cut that by hand, so it wasn't waste. The spiral slicer is much faster, but it does take up more pantry space, while the Vegetti fits in my tools drawer.  Of course the hand slicer fit there too. I even managed to cut myself while looking through the drawer for something else once. Yes, I suppose most come with a guard, but I must have lost that. I am really not that organized, you see.  So, choose your method of cutting. If you have mad knife skills, feel free to go all primitive with just one knife. In that case, you are a culinary ninja and I applaud you!

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Retta said...

Love me some Zoodles! I did a whole post on it once, mentioning how you did yours with the hand slicer, ha ha:

This zoodle dish sounds good. On the taste of coconut milk: whenever I make a crockpot soup and Hubby wants it creamy, I'll add the coconut milk at bedtime. The next morning it's lightly creamy, yet has NO hint of coconut or sweetness. As though the time perking overnite caused it to absorb all the meaty soup flavors. Anyway, HE likes it! :-)

Lisa Marshall said...

Loretta, I think I would like your version best of all. I just never found one in my budget. Never thought of e-bay!

Retta said...

Hey, I was just over at Amazon and stumbled across a zoodle maker similar to mine. Only better, since it has a handle to keep it from sliding away from you, as you press and slice. If mine ever dies, I'll know where to find another. :-)

Anonymous said...

Does coconut milk taste like coconuts? Will that flavor be over powering?